Messy Mog: 1957 Morgan Plus 4 Project

This 1957 Morgan Plus 4 comes without an engine and transmission, but is said to have a very good body with a solid frame and suspension. With good Plus 4s selling for $25,000 and up this could be a way to get into one of these rare cars in project form for not much money. Find it here on eBay in California with bidding starting at $7,500 and no reserve.

There is very little information in the listing, and some of it conflicts with the photos, which show a transmission present. We wish that Moss box was included because they can be hard to find. Beginning in 1953 vintage Plus 4s used Triumph TR3/TR4 engines, so sourcing an engine should not be too difficult. There does appear to be a radiator and some boxes containing parts inside the car and fortunately a set of factory wire wheels are included. These cars may be simple, but it could get expensive if you have to source all the little bits.

The biggest issue with any vintage Morgan is the integrity of the hand-built body, which was constructed by mounting steel panels on an ash wood frame. Serious problems can develop if the wood has split or rotted. The seller says that all of the wood in this car is solid. Confirmation of that along with the structural integrity of the doors and other components of the body would be our first concern.

The Morgan Plus 4 is still being built at the factory in the UK today much like it was in the 1950s. These are hand-built sports cars, constructed from a design developed many decades ago, and there are few cars that can match the vintage feel of an old or new Morgan.

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Comments

  1. Pat

    Would make a fun project. The tranny that is in the pics is a late model unit. Looks like someone has had a late model drive train in it at one time or another.

  2. Anonymous

    What about the white MG sitting next to it

  3. Wilbur

    “Please ask your wife before you start bidding.” I love it!

  4. Duncan

    That’s not a Moss gearbox unless it’s out of a Jaguar. The shift lever in the photo protrudes from an extension piece, whereas on a Morgan the lever comes straight out of the lid, above the gears. One can use a Jag Moss box but you’d have to find Morgan-specific rear and top covers, along with the nose cone (which adds a secondary bearing to support the long input shaft) and the Elektron bell housing with its long extension tube (the gearbox is about two feet aft of the flywheel). The parts needed are around but are starting to get expensive.

    The wood is not that big a deal if one is handy with tools in the least. Weather equipment and windshield would get expensive so this could make a decent starting point for a competitive vintage race car (as it seems to have been before, judging by the markings on the side). If the bell housing could be sourced, rather than find a nice old Moss box, one could get a newly rebuilt Moss racing gearbox (with “real” synchros) from the UK — pricey, but perhaps worth it if the Moss box is required for that race group. Engines are not hard to find.

    The Morgan crowd is pretty tolerant of alterations if it means a car stays on the road. A Volvo B20 is a good fit for these cars and with a pair of SU carbs on the side it doesn’t look all that different from the TR lump. I’ve seen Pinto OHC engines, BMWs, Fiat twincams (Morgan installed these themselves in about 100 cars), Lotus twincams, Cosworths (including BDA through BDR), Buick V6, Miata, Honda S2000, and the GM Ecotec and several variations of the LS series of Corvette engines are being installed by the Morgan dealer in San Francisco.

  5. J. Pickett

    As far as mechanics, Morgan has used many engines. The wood is a factor, the main issue is missing parts. it doesn’t take much to push $7500 up and up.

  6. Chris H.

    An Honda S2000 drivetrain swap would be interesting, or a Miata would be a cost-conscious alternative. Either way, it looks like a great start!

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